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Jane Fonda—the 81-year-old Oscar winner and activist—said on Wednesday that she spent her night in jail last week in a cell with “just me and the cockroaches,” to prove her commitment to continuing organized climate change protests in Washington D.C.
Fonda was among more than 40 people arrested Friday while sitting in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. The actress has been arrested four times during the ongoing climate demonstration dubbed Fire Drill Fridays—each time wearing her $500 red coat from Neiman Marcus and a black beret, she told the Hollywood Reporter. But last week was the first time Fonda spent the night in jail. She was the only one in that group held in custody overnight.
“I was in for 20 hours and for seven hours I was in a cell. It was a holding pen. All of the cells had multiple people in them except mine. In my cell it was just me and the cockroaches,” Fonda told the Hollywood Reporter.
FILE – In this Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, file photo, actress and activist Jane Fonda is arrested at the Capitol for blocking the street after she and other demonstrators called on Congress for action to address climate change, in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Fonda said the coat she wears—which has gone viral on social media, and even used a Halloween costume this year– will be the last thing she’ll ever buy as she tries to practice what she preaches against consumerism and pollution.
“What we’re protesting now is a ticking existential time bomb that encircles everything — everyone’s life, the economy, health, the military, national security, everything,” Fonda said. “We are facing a real catastrophe. The science tells us we have 11 years to make systemic changes in order to prevent it from becoming uncontrollable.”
Fonda sat for a lengthy interview with the Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday as she traveled from New York back to D.C. by train—instead of by airplane in an effort to cut back on fossil fuel emissions.
She encouraged more celebrities to join her movement, noting that if you’re arrested at one of the climate change protests, you’re charged with a misdemeanor, instead of a felony charge, pay $50 and are released. Fonda explained that she was moved to two other cells with more women before she appeared in Superior Court about 1 p.m. Saturday and was released. She said she was given a court date after her third arrest and because she was arrested a fourth time before her scheduled court appearance, she had to spend the night in jail.
“The most disturbing part of it was seeing the people in jail and realizing that this country doesn’t choose to put enough resources into social safety nets and mental health services because so many of the people are there because of poverty and racism and mental health issues,” Fonda said. “It’s the new Jim Crow.”
She also admitted that she thought President Obama dropped the ball on addressing climate change and praised 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg on her work for the cause. Fonda said she’ll accept the Glamour award on her behalf in New York next week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.